Why You Need a Durable Financial Power of Attorney
- A General/Contingent Power of Attorney is a document that authorizes another person to handle your business and financial affairs on your behalf, either immediately or only in the event of your incapacity.
- If you become incapacitated, the agent you nominate under your Durable Power of Attorney will manage your assets and pay your bills without involving the judicial system (i.e., filing a petition for conservatorship or legal guardianship).
- A “Durable” Power of Attorney is one that continues in effect even during an individual’s incapacity or incompetence.
- A Durable Power of Attorney can either take effect immediately when signed or only upon your incapacity or upon the occurrence of some other event.
- A Power of Attorney can be limited to set forth specific powers, such as appointing someone to act on your behalf in the sale of your real property, or it can be more general by authorizing your agent to write checks on your behalf, open accounts, access your safe deposit box at a bank, file your income taxes, buy or sell real estate, and so forth.
- If you or an elderly parent becomes incapacitated and does not have a Power of Attorney, then your family members or the children of the elderly parent must go to court to petition for a conservatorship and/or guardianship of the incapacitated individual in order to have access to the incapacitated individual’s assets.
Even if you have a Revocable Trust you still need a financial durable power of attorney so that your agent under your power of attorney can act on your behalf to manage any assets held outside of your Trust.